adoption issues with social networks

This post is linked with my previous post how companies use social networking where are discussed what social networks were and how they should be adopted by enterprises.

The corporate community seems to allow the risks and negatives to sway their opinions about social networking platforms and the following adoption issues seem to be the major cause.  The need for polices and guidelines that need to be developed in order for employee to prefer to keep their network social rather than mix it with work.  Corporate sensitive information that may become visible if an external network is being used for work purposes.  These statements mentioned constantly generate and push companies to avoid the adopting social networking technologies when education and training can be given to allow ca be given on what are appropriate ways to use external social networks in a work context.

It is important as E2 implementers to mitigate these adoption issue the technology adoption lifecycle is clearly relevant with trying to implement social network within an organisation. 

The technology adoption lifecycle is a sociological model developed by Joe M. Bohlen, George M. Beal and Everett M. Rogers at Iowa State University

The technology adoption lifecycle model outlines the adoption/acceptance of a new product/innovation according a set demographic and psychological characteristics of the defined adopter groups and is illustrated as a typical normal distribution

In the following figure we can see there is a range of adopters within the range from earliest to latest; innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards.

DiffusionOfInnovation[1]

The report summarised the categories as:

  • innovators – had larger farms, were more educated, more prosperous and more risk-oriented
  • early adopters – younger, more educated, tended to be community leaders
  • early majority – more conservative but open to new ideas, active in community and influence to neighbours
  • late majority – older, less educated, fairly conservative and less socially active
  • laggards – very conservative, had small farms and capital, oldest and least educated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_lifecycle)

Principles of User Adoption

  1. making work easy
  2. create reasons for people to use the technology
  3. encouraging person self expression user will want to use social
  4. selecting your early adopters to spread the work and successes

I strongly believe that executives need take a key role in pushing these technologies within an organisation by being the 2.5% innovators and informing the business how these technologies can greatly improve existing processes.  In my current employment I find that there is strong culture with using email for key processes such as service alerting, document reviewing and topic discussions which cause miscommunication and delayed responses. Another point that should be mentioned is that it is important to choose your early adopters, these people can greatly affect the long term out comes and future adopters, people that fit within the above demographic will surely help push and motivate others in effectively using social networking platforms within an enterprise environment.

how companies use social networking

With a prominent part of the internet community focused on social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, it is not surprising that major brands such as Coca Cola,  Telstra and Microsoft are all using these social structures to appeal to a wider audience.  

A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes" which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types

By looking at the definition above, companies can build relationships with their customers, connect with clients/ suppliers/partners and build a sense of trust and emersion.  Although these benefits are promising there are many issues that companies face when adopting Social Networks; employees may like to keep their network purely social, sensitive information may become visible to external viewers, setting guidelines and training employees on how to use these technologies appropriately.

There have been attempts to make this transition easier and adoption is definitely a case by case basis, and solutions have been made to suit.  Products such as LinkedIn allow people to have the clear separation of work and social topics but personally I believe one of the clear uses of Social Networks is to recruit your prosumers to spread the word of your companies services and products.  Facebook provides companies with the ability to create fan pages in minutes. The following are two examples of how companies have used Facebook in this way, these two companies have accomplished these very ideas.Like Red Bull on Facebook!

Red Bull is unique with it’s facebook fan page by integrating sponsored athletes, like Australian Robbie Maddison, to go against the normal integration of the official company twitter feed.   They also provide access to WebTV, entertaining their fans while promoting their product with it’s classic extreme image.

Lean back and be entertained with the best content the world of Red Bull has to offer, from action sports and motor sports to music and lifestyle, exclusively packed in one global 24/7 free web TV stream, any time any place.

After liking the Red bull fan page and trolling through what they have to offer, I found myself showing work colleges and friends how interactive and interesting the site was after about 30mins. 

I’ve always been against these kinds of marketing strategies taken by companies, but seeing how Red Bull has made this experience enjoyable I have started to change this view point.

 

Starbucks

Like Redbull, Starbucks has tried to use facebook in a different approach which has lead it to a facebook quiz application to promote its ice cream products which encourages you to share it with your friends.

The following video demonstrates how Starbucks used facebook to interact with it’s customer base,,not only to promote it’s product but to listen to what they wanted.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/9626593?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=B4CC27

 

Both these two companies make the effort into Facebook  fan pages and it pays off, because that allow the fans to interact by providing videos, photos, special offers without locking them out.

wikis in business

A wiki is a website that anyone can edit, below is Wikipedia’s definition;

A wiki ( /ˈwɪki/ WIK-ee) is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki)

By having an open table style platform one may believe that it would just become a giant mess, but due to the high convergence of a wide and diverse community there is a need to collaborate with positive and correct information.

Wikis are a great tool they are not suitable for structured workflows such as, creating new user accounts within an organisation, as there a key pre-defined sequence and authorization.  Some areas where wikis are suitable in an enterprise environment are tech support divisions; administrators could create documentation that can be updated and modified to suit the continuously changing technologies, or with project management; where project information can be found in a centralised area and not lost in email, scraps of paper and white boards.

There are many issues that enterprise 2.0 implementers face:

  • Reluctance to contribute
  • Reluctance to edit
  • Familiarity with tool
  • Use wikis when relevant
  • Establish appropriate process
  • (INB346 Lecture 8 Dr Jason Watson)

BRIDGE and Wikispaces Private Label

BRIDGE, an intercultural project between Australia and Indonesia, uses Wikispaces Private Label to bridge cultural divides and foster communication among educators in the two countries.

There was a need for school-to-school interaction and BRIDGE needed something that was easy to use and had little training. They created private wikis for each school partnership to share work, information and videos, share resources with their partner schools and the theming system also allowed them to customize their site and create a professional identity.

    Benefits and pitfalls of business and corporate blogging

    External Blogging

    There are two main benefits to external blogs; marketing and customer/community engagement to promote your product but it is important to learn how to use this technology wisely or it could have major pitfalls.  Here are some examples of companies using blogging technologies:

    St Ali www.stali.com.au

    This is a small coffee shop in Melbourne that has embraced micro blogging technologies to enhance it’s relationship with customers.  Spending a few minutes searching through their twitter feed (http://twitter.com/St_ALi) it is easy to see how they are benefitting from this form of technology in marketing and customer/community engagement.

    St Ali has increased it’s customer community by offering subscribers special offers and information. This offers an alternative aspect to regular marketing strategies used by other coffee shops, such as loyalty cards, because they make the customer feel that they are involved within a companies community.  St Ali also offer substitutes to existing services, such as booking tables, to it’s followers.

    sthmelb I wonder if I can book at table @ST_ALi via twitter? Lets try: *Table for 7 at 11am today please. Under Russell. Ta.*

    Another substitute service is how they handle complaints made by their customer base.

    By allowing this type of medium St Ali have increased their customer to customer message propagation with followers/fans posting positive feedback for other potential customers to view. St Ali have managed to embrace external blogging technologies to effectively improve their marketing and customer satisfaction.

    Habitata is a retailer of household furniture in the UK which allows us to view the pitfalls of not recognising new strategies involved with marketing, using blogging.  In 2009, the company had been accused of taking advantage of twitters hash trends to promote specials and product give-aways.

    They used hashtags that had absolutely nothing to do with furniture, decorating, or shopping. Instead they used the obvious top hashtags for Thursday evening AEST such as #iPhone #mms #Apple and even Australia’s Masterchef contestant who was voted off #Poh

    Habitata went into damage control and started to delete the offending tweets and make apologies to the twitter user base, demonstrating that it can be easy to have a huge target audience take offence and voice their opinions, whether they be positive or negative, on the internet.

    Internal Blogging

    These blogs are used by companies to help internal processes and knowledge management.  There are a number of ways a company can setup an internal blog, whether it is to be used by all employees or just higher level managers, but the basic function of the blog still remains with the aim to increase employee communication and collaboration. There are many reasons to host internal blogs in an enterprise environment, some of the most common reasons are Executive communication, Project Management, competitive intelligence, expertise sharing and internal communication. There is a list of some benefits here.

    It should be noted that we often see that internal blogging occurs favourably with the low level employees, as opposed to management, as they find this type of communication to be more beneficial to their positions. The following are some examples of how enterprises have implemented blogging into their internal environments.

    Suncorp offers Financial Services, was founded in 1916 and has over 16,000 employees.  Suncorp has benefited from incorporating and integrating Yammer as part of its social media suite.  It has helped geographically separated employees and teams to integrate and has helped project collaboration as one of the leading cultures within the organisation.

    Go Big Always use an interesting approach to blogging with new employees introducing themselves over a blog rather then walking around meeting face to face.  After employing people I find that the introduction phase can seem to go on for a couple of days so if there is this kind of internal medium for employees to find out what is going on, I love this idea.  GBA also use their blogs for the following

    • meeting notes
    • competitive insights
    • status reports
    • props
    • ideas
    • project updates
    • how to
    • roll-call
    • goofing-off
      Both these examples show how beneficial internal blogging can be for employees to communicate and manage company knowledge.